THE City of Armadale is negotiating with the Central Queensland University (CQU) to set up a study centre to provide a much-needed tertiary pathway for local students.
The move has been prompted by concerns there was a lack of tertiary opportunities for young people in the region following the closure of the Australian Technical College, later called a trades centre, in the early 2000s.
City of Armadale chief executive officer Ray Tame said most successful business and employment centres required employees to have a university or tertiary education component.
“Local government is not in the education industry but Armadale continually finds that if we don’t advocate for our community, no-one will,” Mr Tame said.
“We know there are families out there with young people who have no pathway to the next level of education or vocation as they enter Year 12.
“The council has requested that we continue to challenge the education industry and ask why, with our rapidly expanding population, there is no growth at all in tertiary opportunities for the young people of our region.”
Mr Tame said there had been a lack of interest from Perth universities to establish a presence in Armadale.
He said online courses and virtual classrooms were becoming increasingly common.
“So we are not necessarily restricted to Perth based institutions,” he said.
“Interstate universities are interested in operating in WA with a part-time presence for student support.”
Mr Tame said the council had been asked to contribute financially to the venture, but would not divulge details at this stage as they were being conducted in confidence.
CQU associate Vice Chancellor Trevor Davison said the council had approached the university to look at setting up the centre, using existing facilities.
“We don’t invest in bricks and mortar any more, we find partnerships,” Professor Davison said.
“The City of Armadale is interested in a study centre and I’m giving them ideas of how one would work.”
He said the university had set up study centres in Geraldton, with more than 200 students enrolled, Busselton, Broome and Karratha and a new Perth CBD centre is planned to open next March.
He said discussions with the Armadale council had centre around using existing facilities like a Tafe centre or the new library.
“We are willing to partner with the City of Armadale to provide better access to tertiary education for the residents in the Armadale region and we’ve just started that conversation,” he said.
He said the university already had about 40 Armadale students enrolled in online courses.